Monday, December 14, 2009

Bucket List - Equine Version

Hey there! Long time no see! Man, I couldn't tell you what the heck I've been doing lately, but I know that I've been darn busy with it. Time is just flying! Seriously, wasn't it just Halloween?!? And now we're staring down the barrel at Christmas and New Year's already. Wow!

I've got some updates and good stuff to share that I'll get to one of these days, but I was reading this post of Fugly's that links to this article and it got me thinking. The article is particularly interesting. I've done quite a few things on that list, but not nearly as many as I would have thought.

I have galloped a horse on the beach and I think everyone should have this experience! It was amazing! Even though I was on the slowest horse there and ate a lot of sand.

I have won a blue ribbon or two. Even a buckle. Or two. Sorry, I'm still way excited about that.

I've tried cutting and while I know what a cowy horse is like(really freaking cool!), I have yet to actually ride a seriously cowy horse.

I used to jump all the time, anything and everything I could point my horse towards, bareback and bridleless even, but that was before I knew what the heck I was doing.

I have been bucked off and gotten right back on. Many, many, many times.

I have attempted a sliding stop on a fairly well trained reining horse, but I couldn't make myself relax enough to stay out of her way and let her do it so I'll have to try that one again. Hopefully many, many, many times.

I have nursed horses back to health, though calling it a "crisis" may be a bit dramatic.

I have had to make the right decision for the horse, no matter how much it sucked.

I have ridden gaited horses, tackled some pretty darn cool trails horseback, been camping with my horse and all are highly recommended.

I have woken up to whinnies and done my share of daily mucking, feeding, watering, etc.

But by far my favorite accomplishment on that list is the last one: share a bond with your horse that is deeper then words. There is just nothing that compares.

The more I get involved with horses as an adult, the more I realize just how sheltered I've been from the "real horsey world". It's big. Huge! I thought I had experienced a decent chunk of it, but I'm discovering more and more that I'm pretty darn innocent. I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't even know what a couple of things on that list were. I do know that there is a TON more of the horsey world that I want to experience, so I am making my own Horsey Bucket List. Here goes...

Patches' Horsey Bucket List

1. Ride a finished reiner and be relaxed enough to enjoy it!
2. Ride my own finished reiner at a NRHA show and not totally embarrass myself!

3. Ride a finished cutter, and hopefully not end up in the dirt!

4. Go to Texas to watch the NCHA Futurity

5. Go to Oklahoma to watch the NRHA Futurity

6. Go to Las Vegas and watch NFR

7. Find out more about other associations and go watch their big shows
8. Ride english more, take some lessons
9. Give jumping a "real" try
10. Learn more about dressage
11. Go swimming with my horse again and not get swept off this time
Watch, and possibly try, polo
13. Take my dream vacation and stay on a real working cattle ranch that doesn't dumb it down for city slickers. Well, not too much anyways.
14. Learn how to rope, take a stab at either team roping or breakaway roping. Maybe try goat tying too!

I'm sure there are many more, but that's all I can come up with off the top of my head right now and since I've been mulling this over for a week now and not come up with anything else and it's been almost a month since my last post, I'm just going to get this posted. Looks like a pretty good start anyways!

Hopefully I'll get a chance to get some other updates up one of these days and maybe make it around to everyone else's blogs as well. 'Tis the season I suppose.

If I don't talk to ya before then...Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! ;-)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Confession

Ok, I have a few confessions.

First, in case you've missed it...I'm rather obsessed with Twilight. Reading those books has been a life altering experience, as much as I tried to fight it, and I don't regret it one bit.

Second, I am beyond excited about the New Moon movie. I have tickets to the midnight showing tonight with a bunch of girlfriends and I cannot wait! I also now have tickets to go see it AGAIN tomorrow, during school hours, in hopes of actually getting to really watch the movie without all the screaming tweens, packed theater and general excitement and distractions from the movie that I expect at the midnight showing.

Third, and this is the big one...I'm a New Moon movie virgin. I have somehow managed to avoid all of the movie trailers that are out there. I have seen plenty of pictures and other good stuff from the movies, but I figure that's only 2nd or 3rd base. I have avoided most things that could be a spoiler for me. I ordered the soundtrack when it came out, but have only listened to the first couple songs on it because I decided I didn't even want to have that experience going into the movie.

Let me tell you, it was no small feat to avoid all that stuff either! There are spoilers, trailers and pictures every where! I've heard it said that if you piece together all of the trailers and pictures out there you could probably watch the whole dang movie. I have clicked away from temptations online, avoided searching them out and closed my eyes and hummed through ones that were unavoidable. It was really hard to continue to get my Twilight fix without accidentally seeing something I didn't want to. And I thank all the blogs and sites that had warnings when posts contained spoilers! That helped a lot.

As I've heard so many other Twihards express, I never expected to get this caught up in a book or a movie. I've never done the midnight show thing before. I've never bought shirts, sweatshirts, movie guides, magnets, puzzles, candies, stuck small pins in conspicuous places to "out" myself to others like me and spent countless hours browsing through merch to see if there is anything else I have to have. I've never "squee'd" and "eeeeee'd" and bounced around so much over a book or movie in my life. It's ridiculous. I feel like I'm 12 again and I alternate between laughing at myself and hanging my head in shame over it. I try to keep myself under control, but it doesn't always work. And the excitement building up to New Moon coming out has pretty much taken over my life lately. My friend, the one I blame for all of this, I'll call her The Enabler, has only encouraged my Twitardedness. Whenever I see her I pretty much involuntarily start bouncing up and down. I can't help it. If there are a lot of non-twihard people around I can atleast usually keep my SQUEEEEEEE down to a 6 inch voice. I've still gotten plenty of looks.

So here's to hoping this movie totally rocks! I'm pretty confident that even if it is bad I'll still love it just because it's Twilight related. I've heard very good things about it though and it looks like it's going to be amazing from the little that I have seen. I do have moments of panic that saving myself like I have will have the opposite effect that I was hoping and I will have put the movie on a pedastal (get it? 40 Year Old Virgin reference. Any one?), but I don't think that will be the case.

What are your feelings on the New Moon movie or the whole Twilight deal? Are you head over heels for it? Think it's the stupidest thing ever? Do you have a plan for seeing the movie? I want to know!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Lookie What I Got...

So I mentioned here that I ended up 2nd place in the cutting series that we did over the summer. We had our awards banquet this past weekend and I got a buckle for my second place finish in the Green/Green class.

Reserve Champion buckle...not too shabby!

It's a pretty buckle and bigger then my other buckle, though not quite as flashy. It's a little more simple and classic.

Do you know how excited I am that I even have buckles to compare right now? Oh my goodness, coolest thing ever! I'm pretty darn excited about it!

I also got 5th place out of quite a few teams in the team cutting they did for fun at the last show so I received one of these...

These hoof picks are so fun! I just love them.

It was a very fun banquet and great end to the year. The boyfriend has decided to concentrate on reining for now and doesn't plan to do cutting next year, but I would like to do another season of it. The shows are a lot of fun, every one is super duper nice and it's just a really good time.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Boot Camp, Shows and Mister

Midori and I have been working hard continuing with boot camp. Since the last post I have tried a few new things, one of them being switching bits to what I affectionately call my Miracle Bit. It's a gag bit and it's fabulous! Midori is almost soft in it! I'm not playing tug-o-war with her any more! She is way better and any time she thinks about hanging on the bit I can just bump her right off of it, though it does bother me wondering what made her so hard in the first place. I've always thought I had pretty soft/light hands. Regardless, it makes the lead changes so much easier! And of course as soon as we got her head under control other issues that were hindering our progress popped right out, which made it easier to understand why we were having so much trouble. Amazing how that works! Now that I know about those issues, we have been working on them and things are really coming along. Our lead changes still aren't pretty but atleast left to right they are consistant. Right to left, they are still a challenge, but she'll atleast DO them and even in a mostly collected manner (for us anyways).

So our lead changes are getting better. Still have a loooooong ways to go, but we are getting them. YAY! Our spins are looking more like very slow motion spins instead of watching and going, WTF are you trying to do?!? lol Our stops come and go, but I'm not sure that she'll ever slide. Our rating and circles are decent, we don't work on those much. She's spent the last 5 years rating and running in circles in drill, so that's not a concern for us at this point.

It's very exciting to feel that progress is being made! Unfortunately due to illnesses and scheduling conflicts we have ended up with a couple week break in lessons and riding for the most part. The ponies have all been a bit under the weather for the last week or so, recovering from a day or two of major runs, and with 2-3 shows coming up this month, I wanted to make sure they got a break and were 100% all better before we worked them too hard. Midori especially dropped a bunch of weight in a matter of days, but never got dehydrated or ran a fever and didn't look anything more then unhappy about her circumstances. I got them on Fasttrack and electrolytes to help their guts and make sure they didn't get dehydrated, but other then that I couldn't find much else that I could do for them. Sugar and Mister seem to have gotten over it just fine, but Midori is still not 100%. She was the only one that was ridden hard as she was getting sick and I wonder how much that has to do with it. I'm hoping she gets back to 100% this week! We've got our next show this coming weekend and I need to get a couple rides on her before then! We should still be able to take it pretty easy though, it's just one reining pattern and I don't think a lack of warm up time will be what hurts us. lol

There are two of the winter series shows this month and then we skip December. There is also another show at the arena that has a schooling reining pattern that we are thinking about going to. Practice is always good! They also have a trail class, which I really like so I might have to do that one too. Also happening this coming weekend is the awards/year end banquet for our cutting club. I'm looking forward to finding out if I get a buckle for my second place finish in that series!

In other news, I've gotten a few rides on Mister. We started with a new shoer who is aggressively correcting his club foot. The previous shoer was simply maintaining it and Mister had been pretty much chronically lame with abscess after abscess for most of the past 6-8 months. He's been mostly sound with this new shoer. Very exciting! From so much time off and so many issues though his shoulder was extremely atrophied so we spent a lot of time ponying him around or hand walking and light lunging to build his muscle back up. Other then some soreness, he's been just fine and in the last month or so I decided he looked ready to carry my butt around a bit. I've gotten 3 rides on him, even getting up to loping both directions. He is still, of course, very green, but seems much more confident packing a person around then he did last time I was riding him. He has been such a good boy! Last time I was on him the arena was pretty busy so I didn't want to push him with loping. He took everything going on around him in stride and stayed focused on what I was asking him to do, but instead of loping I decided to work on moving off my legs: sidepassing and pivoting on his haunches and forehand. He's very sticky with moving his shoulders or hips, though he seems to understand moving off my legs while I'm riding. He'll try to shape away from my leg or move over the direction I ask while he's going forward. It was a completely new concept for him when standing still, but after he got those wheels turning, he seemed to pick it up pretty quickly, I was pleased. I'm hoping to get some more time on him soon, but he was sick too and does still have some issues with lameness, so I don't want to push him too hard.

We had a wonderful day outside yesterday enjoying the sunshine and possibly the last of the nice weather. I only had one long sleeve thermal shirt on with my puffy vest! The ponies enjoyed some attention and a little TLC. I'm sure they appreciated having clean butts and tails, even though the water was cold. :) We got another paddock up for the boyfriends sister's horse that we are boarding and that freed up the arena-to-be area and got us motivated to have more sand brought in so we can atleast get the round pen up with some good footing. It would be really nice to have that available for turn out this winter and so that we have some where to atleast get the ponies some exercise on nice days, even if it's not great for getting any real work done with them.

Lots of work to be done, as always. And of course not enough hours in the day, but we'll get there! Atleast there is progress being made on many different fronts!

Hope you all are enjoying fall!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sunday Stills Challenge - Halloween

This weeks SSC was anything having to do with Halloween so I've decided to showcase my mad pumpkin carvin' skillz. And the fact that I'm a 28 year old Twitard. Ya...

So I had some girlfriends over for the Great Pumpkin Carving Adventure 2009 a couple weeks ago and this is what we came up with.

All very cute and all totally different. Love it! Can you guess which one is mine?

Yep, I'm the twitard, complete with vampire fangy smile and all. In my defense, there was alcohol involved, but probably not enough to make this acceptable. I also may have been breaking in my Edward/Jacob tshirt that night, but there are no pictures to prove it.

So here I go, outing myself to the world with my Twitard pumpkin sitting on my porch. Only you can't see my porch from the road, so no one knows. Except you. And all the good people that read Twitarded, because I apparently made JJ and STY's day when I sent it to them so they posted it there as well. Eeks!

All righty then. I think that's enough embarrassing myself for one evening. Hope you all had a happy Halloween! And we're into the teens for the countdown to New Moon! YEEHAW!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday Stills Challenge - Landscapes and Fall Foliage

I love fall! I love watching trees turn and seeing all the colors. It's my favorite time of year. Other then the frosty mornings. I'm really not ready for frost and cold again. It seems like we were just here.

Regardless, the colors are beautiful. Unfortunately, the weather and my schedule did not cooperate this week at all. It has been cloudy and gray all week so that combined with the 20 seconds of daylight I have when I get home from work, getting pics for this challenge just wasn't looking promising. Then yesterday I got lucky! It was still cloudy and foggy most of the morning, but when I came home from running some errands I noticed the mountain was peeking out just enough and the sun was shining on this lone little maple tree at the bottom of our property. Of course the tree is somewhat past it's color turning glory, but I think it's still pretty.

Happy fall!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Kitten Update!

I realized I haven't done an update on the kittens in quite a while so here's what they've been up to. They are getting big! Well, bigger. I think they will stay pretty small cats though. They are growing up quickly. I got over my over-protective tendencies and have been kicking them outside all day. I think they like it, they aren't terribly anxious to get back in when I get home.

They are really good tree climbers. Too good, actually. They love it and they won't stop. The turkeys.

This was Chunks first tree climbing experience. We left for a bit one day and when we got home she was up the tree meowing pathetically.

See her peeking out? She was quite a ways up the tree. In the picture below you can see her little face about a quarter of the way down the pic next to the wire. She was probably 30-40 feet up.

I made the boyfriend climb up the tree and get her down before it got dark. The next day she climbed it again. I told her she had to figure it out this time, she only got one get out of jail free pass. She was down just after dark. Smart kitty!

Legs on the other hand...apparently not so smart. She was climbing trees the whole time I was out holding horses for the shoer a couple weeks ago. She would meow like she was stuck for a while, but always figured out a way to get down. Then she got stuck. We figured she could find a way to get down on her own, but she never did. She spent the night in the tree. Poor thing. Must have been a miserable night. I woke up in the middle of the night to check if she had gotten herself down and was ready to come in, but she was still stuck. It was just as well though because there was a rather large sounding pack of coyotes very close so atleast she was safe in the tree. She was down when I got home from work the next day though so I didn't worry about it too much.

I went out of town this last weekend and she got herself good and stuck while I was gone. She did it sometime while the boyfriend was out running errands Saturday afternoon. She still had not come down by the time I got home from work on Monday. The tree she was up was not one we could climb easily so after some figurin' I decided I could pull my truck under it to stand on and snag her out of the branches. She was one traumatized little kitty after 48 hours in a tree. She hasn't been climbing trees much since and I hope she learned her lesson!

When we are home and Chey is outside they are her entertainment. She likes to stalk them.

She is one smart little puppy dog too, cracks me up. She hides behind the truck tires and peeks around them to watch the kittens come out of hiding and then pounces.

The kittens are much braver when we are outside to yell at Cheyanne. They are such trouble makers! So funny to watch though!

This is a close up of Chunk aka: May Belle. Overall she has darker coloring and her tabby stripes are really coming out. She's very pretty! She has a very white belly and paws and light yellow-green eyes.

Legs aka: June Bug, has much lighter coloring, more orange and light colors. Her eyes are a really dark gold color.

They are both just adorable and super friendly. They love to curl up on the couch with us when we are watching tv.
The poor things are cutting teeth right now though. I was holding Legs and petting her and noticed something on her chest. It was a tooth! So I had to inspect and see where it came from. It was Chunks tooth! Not sure how it ended up on Legs' chest! In my teeth inspecting though I found this...

Poor Chunk has two canine teeth on her top right side. Her gums are all red and sore looking. And neither of them are loose. Legs has a really loose tooth on her bottom left, but I couldn't get it out. Poor kittens. I'm sure they aren't enjoying that experience too much. And it's about time to be getting them spayed too. They may not like me for a while.


Well here we are, October 13th already. Again, time is just flying lately. I swear I just posted about entering the G.A.G. and now it's time for the drawing. Where does time go?!?

Before I get into the winners of the G.A.G. I told y'all I'd fess up to what I believe is the quirkiest of all of my quirky habits. It's nothing spectacular, but it is definately weird. Please don't think less of me.

Here goes...

I have issues with washing socks. I don't mind doing laundry all that much, my issues are with socks in particular. I will stick my hand in dirty socks to turn them right-side-out no problem. Well, most of the time no problem. Sometimes during the summer I have a problem with the boyfriends socks after a particularly hot day, but that's another story.

Now, here is the weird part. If I miss a sock and it comes out of the dryer inside-out, I have to turn it right-side-out and then wash it again. No clue why, but I feel like I stretched it out or dirtied it in some weird way if I turn it right-side-out after it's washed.

Yes, I do have issues and I do realize exactly how ridiculous this sounds.

Here is where it gets even weirder (if that's even possible) and where the boyfriend looks at me like I've totally lost it...if I find one of the boyfriends socks in the clean clothes that is inside-out, I will go hand it to the boyfriend and make him turn it right-side-out and then I will go along my merry way putting it away. That is okay. It's not dirty because it was his sock and he turned it right-side-out. If he's not around and I have to turn his sock right-side-out, back in the wash it goes. My socks don't usually get turned inside-out, but if they do, I will usually wash them again.


Ok, now that you all think I'm a total weirdo, let's give away some prizes!

Thanks to those of you that commented and fessed up to some of your quirks! It's nice to know that every one has them, even if they aren't as crazy weird as mine. ;) jrosey, I twirl my hair too, constantly! Paint Girl - totally there with you on the TP. Lisa I have to seperate the colors when I eat Skittles, or I chose carefully which ones I do combine. And Pony Girl, I unfortunately do not have moments of panic like that and have left the stove on more then once. Oops!

Now, since I only got 5 comments/entries (a very sad day for me!) I have decided that instead of having 2 drawings and leaving 3 of you out, all 5 of you get something! WOHOO!!!

Here are your choices:

1. I will preorder a copy of the Pioneer Woman Cookbook from Amazon for you. It is scheduled to be released October 27th. I really can't wait to get my paws on this cookbook and preordered mine as soon as it was available! I have made many, many, many of the recipes on her website and they are always delicious and HUGE hits at parties or with friends!

2. The Mystery Gift Package, which will be some combination of my fave wine, coffee, chocolates or candy with something horsey, Twilighty, doggy or kitty thrown in. You'll have to let me know your preferences or tell me to take a stab at it and surprise you.

Send me an email ( and let me know what's floatin' your boat! And thanks so much for participating and reading my blog!!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sunday Stills Challenge - Photoshop

This weeks challenge is Photoshop. Play with the settings and make something interesting. Well, I pretty much suck at editing pictures. I'm not exactly known for my soft touch and the term subtle is not in my vocabulary. I'm not sure how interesting these pics turned out, but they are definately edited!

I took these pics last week for the challenge, Happiness, but didn't get a chance to get them loaded and posted. I figured they'd work just dandy for this weeks challenge. As my sister says, happiness is a hairball. These are my most favoritist hairballs, the ponies. They definately make me happy.

This in particular is the best...getting snarfed by Midori when I go to visit. She just can't stay out of my face when I'm out there. Not even long enough for me to snap a decent pic of her.

And this is the edited version. I played around with these in Picnik, trying out different filters and adjustments. I believe this one was "Night Vision".

Even when the ponies are crabby at me for interrupting their naps, they still make me happy. Somehow I get a lot of crabby pics of Mister, but he is just a big teddy bear.

I believe I cranked up the contrast, lowered the saturation and used a HD filter on this one.

And then there's Sugar Pop. She loves posing for me.

And picnik had all these fun Halloween tools so I made Sug a vampy pony. Somehow it just fit with her better then the others.

Hope you are all having a fabulous weekend! Don't forget to click on the G.A.G. pic at the top of the sidebar and enter the Great Anniversary Giveaway!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Winter Series and Boot Camp

Well, we started the Winter Series this past weekend. We did the Winter Series last year which is where I won my buckle. I won the Beginner Reining class which meant that I also got kicked up to the next class this year which has a real reining pattern and requires flying lead changes. I'm not really ready for the next class, but oh well. I've started lessons and I'm determined to be competitive in it by the end of the series. We are making progress on our flying lead changes, but they are still rough and very inconsistent. We still do not spin. Midori's head is still up in the air, she is not soft or light right now. We have a LOT of work to do, but we are making progress. I just have to keep reminding myself of that since I am having a hard time not getting discouraged and frustrated.

The boyfriend and Sugar are coming along fabulously with their lessons. Sug was a futurity flunkie and came to us as a 3 year old fairly broke reiner, though slightly neurotic. Sug knew way more then we did and we have since done a fantastic job of totally screwing her up. It isn't taking much for Sug's training to come back to her though. She is already back to doing beautiful flying lead changes, trying to slide when she stops, even though she doesn't have sliders on right now, and loping very nice circles framed up. They are improving in leaps and bounds, while I'm still struggling with flying lead changes and playing tug-o-war with my horse while she goes mach 5 around the arena refusing to change leads. It's hard not to get frustrated. I want a broke horse. I haven't had a broke horse since I was 12 or so and was riding my mom's QH Jingles. I'm pretty sure she was broke, even by my standards today. Every horse that I've had since then I've had to train to do what I wanted. Usually I enjoy it, I think I'd get bored just hopping on a finished horse all the time, but sometimes it just gets frustrating having to be patient and appreciate the baby steps.

After a particularly gruelling and unproductive lead changing attempt last week I was seriously writing up a sale ad for my horse, wondering how much I could get out of her and if it would be enough to buy a more broke reiner. One that at least did flying lead changes. Yes, I do have quite the hang up on flying lead changes. I have struggled with them ever since I've had Midori, they have always been an issue for us and they are the only goal I have repeatedly failed to accomplish with her.

We had another lesson together on Friday (me/Midori and the boyfriend/Sug) and once again I sneered at the boyfriend and Sug the whole time. They are such showoffs! Since it was the night before the show Midori and I didn't even attempt flying lead changes. We didn't want to start that battle and blow our mojo for the show. We still managed to get in a pretty good brawl over sidepassing. Sidepassing!!! She has always been good at that, it's practically second nature to her. She was being pissy and ended up throwing a major tantrum, which I just had to laugh at. Really it was pretty darn comical. When she finally got over it, we went back to work and the rest of the lesson went just fine. She was still a little bent out of shape when I was untacking her though. Mares! lol

The reining was Saturday morning and all I wanted was to complete the pattern correctly and as respectably as I could. I knew I was going into it with 4 penalty points already since we were going to do simple lead changes, but I figured we could at least do the pattern clean. And we did. I had a moment of panic wondering if I did 4 spins or had stopped early at 3, but I had counted right. Yay! They weren't pretty at all, actually they felt absolutely horrific, but we did them. I felt pretty good about the rest of our pattern, it was a respectable pattern for where we are at. That was all I asked of the day so mission accomplished.

There were 8 people in our class and when they announced the placings, usually from 3rd up, they only announced 2nd and a tie for 1st. I was 2nd. The boyfriend tied for 1st. What the heck?!? I couldn't believe I had 2nd place! We ran over to look at the score sheet and found that out of 8 people in the class 5 had gone off pattern and gotten zero's. Oops! My score was not good, I got a 62 1/2, but I was only 1 point behind the first place tie. They both did flying lead changes, so considering I had 4 penalty points for that and was still only 1 point behind them I was very pleased with our pattern!

I made sure our pattern was video'd so that I can (in theory) look back on it down the road and see how much progress I've made. I've decided to post it here, for your viewing displeasure. Feel free to skip the first minute or so, in fact, I highly recommend it. Seriously, our "spins" are worse then watching paint dry. They are baaaaad. And try to ignore the jibberjabbering. I couldn't think of a good song to put over it.

Overall it was a fun day, Midori behaved herself and didn't get pissy. We did turn back for a little bit while the boyfriend was cutting in the afternoon. That was fun! I've never done turn back before and Midori seemed to be totally diggin it. We have our next lesson tonight and a month to the next show so plenty of time for some major schooling without blowing our mojo. I'm still planning to be doing simple lead changes at the shows for probably the rest of this year. Yes, that is how bad we are. I'm going to shoot for having consistent, solid lead changes by the first of the year for the rest of the shows. Wish us luck!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

My Anniversary!

Wow! Did October totally sneak up on anyone else? Holy cow! I can't believe it's here already!

I meant to do this post before now, so I could hold the drawing on my actual anniversary, but since I'm a bum and can't seem to keep track of dates to save my life, I'm late. *sigh*

Anyways, I started this crazy blog a year ago October 3rd! I can't believe it's been a year already, this past year has just evaporated! I've had so much fun writing this blog, taking pictures for this blog, making blogger's been quite an adventure!

For my anniversary I've got a completely original idea! I'm going to have a giveaway! I know, I know, I'm brilliant, aren't I?!? The things I come up with! lol The loot is yet to be determined and will depend on who wins it, but it will likely be a scintillating combination of Washington/Horsey/Twilight/Doggie/Kittie themed items. Whatever it is, it'll be grand, I promise!

To enter the Great Anniversary Giveaway (GAG) just answer this question in the comments...

What is your quirkiest habit and how long have you had it?

I know I touched on a few of my quirks here and probably a few other places that I can't remember right now. I believe I have yet to fess up to my quirkiest quirk to anyone but the boyfriend. It's weird. It's the one quirk that the boyfriend looks at me like I'm seriously nuts for. And I'll tell you all about it when I announce the winner of the drawing on October 13th.

So whip out the big guns, I want to hear all about your weirdness! We're all friends here! You have until 10:03 pm (get it? My anniversary is 10/3...10:03 pm...anyone? Anyone? *crickets*) PST Tuesday October 12th to tell me and I'll get you entered in the drawing for the super cool prize that is TBD!

I'll also do a super special bonus GAG drawing for everyone that answers this question...

What is your favorite post from this blog?

Is there one that sticks out in your mind? One that had some profound effect on you? One that you read and went wow, this chick is crazy? One that is simply memorable for whatever reason? Let me know! I like feedback and want to know exactly what you guys think, good or bad!

Monday, September 28, 2009

So Close!

Well, we had our last cutting show of the year last weekend. It was a series of 6 shows that started back in April. I competed in the Green/Green class which is basically the easiest of all beginner cutting classes that there is. You don't even have to come out of a herd, they kick one cow out for you and you get to work for 2 minutes. You have the option of calling time for a second cow, but you only get two.

We've made it to all 6 shows of the series and I was leading the G/G class by a half a point heading into this last show. Half a point!!! You just don't get any tighter then that unless you're tied! I've been having some really consistently good work on the buffalo and the flag since the last show so I was pretty hopeful going into this last show. I was also really trying not to think about it too much. Certainly doesn't do anyone any good to be nervous!

Your run and score are also heavily dependent on the "cow gods", as we call them. Since you don't come out of the herd, you don't get to pick and choose which cow you get and you are stuck with whatever comes out that gate. It can be good and bad. I've had pretty decent luck all year and figured even if I got a runner, our work has been pretty solid lately so I didn't think I'd have too much of a problem.

I was wrong.

I entered the arena and they kicked a cow out for me. It just stood there, watching me come around to the back wall to push it up and start working. It was calm and seemed pretty laid back so I breathed a sigh of relief. We got behind it and started pushing it up and *poof* it was gone. I was able to keep her under control and never did loose my working advantage, but we did a lot of running. I called time with just under a minute to go. I was thankful they took some time to get the second cow out because Midori needed to air up a bit. Then the second came out. Head and tail up, wildly looking around. I thought it was going to turn around and jump right over that gate before I could even get to it! Crap!!! I got behind it and didn't even get a chance to push it up before it took off. We kept it under control for a little while but then I lost it. We stumbled thru one turn and it was outta there. Ran around, hit the corner and pushed right thru us on the wall. Damn. Loss of working advantage. I brought it up again and worked for a little while longer, then it did the same thing again. I did get it stopped on the wall but that little bastard literally pushed us out of the way, which meant I had another loss of working advantage, right at the buzzer. Blast!!!

I'm not sure if he was just trying to comfort me or not, but one of my herd help told me that it was just bad cows, that last one I got was absolutely unstoppable, nothing I could have done about it. I know the cows I got were a lot more challenging then most of the other cows that came out for my class (seriously, I watched them all, I'm not just feeling sorry for myself here!), but looking over the video (again and again and again and again) we made a slow turn both times and should have been able to catch the cow before he ever got to the corner. Oh well. I got a 63, came in 2nd or 3rd to last in the class of 10. Ouch.

The bright spot in all of this is that I still got a 63! In cutting, you start out with a score of 70 and the judges adds or takes away points as your run goes, marking different columns on the score sheet with +/check/-. The lowest score you can get is a 60. Loss of working advantage is a 5 point deduction. I had two. Meaning, if I wouldn't have lost that cow twice, I would have gotten a 73, which would have won the class. Bummer. When I looked at the score sheet I had +'s all the way across, which is really good! I think that's the first time this year I've had all +'s! I was pretty darn excited about that so I'm trying to focus on that fact. I had a good, solid ride, I just got rowdy cows.

Also on the positive side, I was far enough ahead of everyone else in the class that I still ended up in second place for the series. WOHOO!!! Rumor has it that there are buckles to second place. I won't know for sure until the year end banquet, which won't be for another month or so.

So overall, I'm happy with the day. Our practice run went well too, Midori does really well going into the herd and I really think she likes playing with cows. Next weekend we start the winter series. I'll just be doing reining again for that since I want to really focus on getting Midori broke and more finished for a while. Should be another fun series!

Macro Monday

My Macro Monday post this week is "The Lip". I believe I'm mentioned before that my horse has rather large lips. It's pretty comical to watch how far she can stretch them when there is grass just outside of her paddock fence. And when she snoozes they get really droopy and it cracks me up to play with them.

Her lower lip always hangs down further and gapes open and you can stick your finger in there and the skin is all dry and she'll usually just sleep right thru me flapping it around and making her "talk" and all sorts of silly stuff. She puts up with a lot from me! lol

In these pics the girls were taking their afternoon siesta at our last cutting show of the year. We'd already had our runs and were just waiting to watch some friends go before we took off. Even Sugar looks a little tuckered out in this pic.

Midori was just totally zonked out though. I was almost surprised she didn't try laying down. You can see how wild they are. The boyfriend has to keep a watchful eye on them so they don't run off.

Or not. Sug perked up when she realized I had the camera. She's a total camera whore. Looooves posing for me! :)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday Stills Challenge - Signs of Fall

Well, due to some technical difficulties, I'm getting this up a little late. Darn computers! Here are some signs of fall from my neck of the woods...

First off, we have all of my pots and hanging baskets drying out, turning brown, dying...

Though that may have more to do with me being in "fall mode" which does not include watering plants. Oops!

Our ponies are all shedding their nice, short summer coats and getting a little fuzzier...

They are also getting very hair chinny chin chins. Atleast before they got clipped for the show this weekend!

And is it just me or is there really way more of these guys hanging around in the fall time? They seem to be every where! Ick!

The leaves are starting to change...

And a sure sign of fall at my house is mushrooms. There were a bunch that popped up when we had a week or two of cooler, cloudy weather, but of course the last week has been sunny and hot so they all disappeared, except for these little guy. We really do get quite the variety of mushrooms all around our house in the fall though.

Happy fall to everyone!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hibernating Already

Well, as I've been trying to make my rounds and get caught up on the regular blogs that I read it sounds like the general consensus is that this time of year is just darn busy! I know I've been pretty busy lately, getting summer stuff wrapped up, getting going with boot camp, trying to take advantage of the nice weather while it lasts, soaking up as much sun as I possibly can while it's here. I know it won't last me thru the winter, but a girl can try, right?

I've got a long list of Summer Projects that I really wanted to get done this year, but just didn't happen. I'm trying to figure out how many I can squeeze into the next few weeks. It's not looking promising.

I still owe my friend a trail ride that I promised her for her birthday. In March.

We still don't have stalls. That's all I'm going to say about that.

My main issue, however, is that I'm already going into hibernation mode. I can't seem to help it. I got sucked back into the black hole of reading and it may be next spring before I come out of it. I guess I'm already preparing myself for another long winter. One thing that I really loved about last winter (quite possible the only thing) was how much reading I did. I loooove to read. I really haven't read much in a really long time, like years, but last fall I got sucked into Twilight and it was all down hill from there. I read a lot. I can't even remember how many books I plowed through, but I know it was quite a few. Probably atleast a dozen, and I read some of them twice. It was fabulous! I tried to keep my nose out of books this summer so I could ride my horse, do laundry, get some yard work done, maybe tackle a project or two around the house, you a responsible adult. It's so hard to be productive when all I want to do is finish whatever book I'm in.

The weather was pretty nasty around here for a week or two: cold, gray, rainy...I think that was what got me thinking about hibernating. I couldn't help it. After a crazy hectic summer, I was perfectly happy to grab a book, a blanket and my fleece yoga pants and park my butt on the couch for a bit. The weather has cleared up again but I still seem to be in hibernation mode. I'm still perfectly happy reading, though I do feel a little guilty when the sun is out. Ok, a lot guilty. I've discovered that reading in the rocker on the porch or stretched out on a blanket in the backyard to soak up some sun while I'm reading does help with that guilt though. Still not getting anything done, but atleast I'm enjoying the nice weather while it's around.

I've stocked up my "to be read" shelf, it's good and ready for winter. Amazon makes it WAY too easy to order stuff, those butt heads. And then the free shipping with a qualifying $30 purchase = trouble! I love free shipping. And those bastards even send me emails with suggestions of books to buy based on what I've ordered in the past. The nerve! So many books to read, so many other things I should be doing instead!

I'm also really looking forward to reading Twilight yet again. I'm thinking if I start it around the beginning of November, I should be able to get through it just in time to go see New Moon. I'm excited for that movie! I'm trying not to be because I really don't want to be disappointed, but it's really hard because there seems to be a lot of hype surrounding it. I hate hype. I would really rather have low expectations going into a movie and come out totally enamored, then be let down from listening to all the hype. I may, just possibly, be planning to be a total Twitard and go see the midnight opening night show. Maybe. You didn't hear that from me.

In other news, boot camp is going well. I've been so busy with other things and since we still don't have an arena at our house (another epic fail for us this year) I haven't been getting a lot of saddle time on my own, but our lessons are going very well. We're making progress. Midori is getting more responsive and I'm getting better about not being such a control freak. I know, I Control freak?!? Who'da thunk it?! lol

We have one more cutting show for the summer series. I'm hoping it goes well! I would like to end on a good note. After that I'm really going to focus solely on our boot camp. The winter series starts the weekend after our last cutting show. I plan to do the reining portion again. The boyfriend is still deciding if he wants to do reining or cutting. Or both. Since I won the rookie reining class I was in last year I have to move up to the next class. It is still two handed, but requires flying lead changes. I'm not expecting anything out of the series this year as I've got some pretty stiff competition. The classes are $12 and it gives me an excuse to get on my horse and have something to work for all winter. I plan to use the series as a way to measure my boot camp progress. That is all. I certainly wouldn't mind winning, but that's not what it's about for me this year. I'll have to bookmark that statement and keep referring back to it after every show. ;o)

Other then that, I think the summer craziness seems to be winding down. I'm looking forward to fall and all it's glory and hoping the sun sticks around for a while. I'm excited for pumpkin flavored anything, hard carmelled apple cider and all the brilliant fall colors. I really do love fall.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Boot Camp!

Boot camp has commenced. I decided last spring that as soon as drill was over this season I was going to begin intensively working on getting my horse really darn broke. I want her light, responsive, soft, supple as well as doing flying lead changes, spins and stops. I'm sure our backing and roll backs can be improved upon as well, among other things. I want her to be able to do all of that framed up and on a loose rein. I want to feel like I deserve to wear my "Reining Champion" buckle, not laugh at myself when I put it on because I still cannot do a flying lead change, which, to me, is part of being a reiner, like needing oxygen is part of being human.

So as soon as drill was over mid-July I got to work. At first it was just working on my own, when I could manage to get on my horse. It was a busy few weeks so I didn't get as many oppurtunities to ride as I would have liked, but when I did I thought about where I wanted my horse to be and what I needed to do to get there and worked on it. I made progress and I was happy with it.

While I do love drill and it was very instrumental in getting Midori to where she is today, it has seemed lately that it is a little counter-productive to getting where I wanted to go with her. I had always drilled with Midori. With the exception of our end of the season break from mid-July to Labor day and holiday break from Thanksgiving to New Years and a hand full of skipped practices here and there, I've drilled Midori pretty darn faithfully every single Sunday for the whole 4 years that I've had her. I don't regret it. Not one bit. I think drill horses are amazing athletes and some of the most rock solid horses out there. But I am to a point where I want to really fine tune Midori and it needs consistent, dedicated work. I can't just forget it for practice every Sunday. I don't think that's fair. So I made a deal with myself that as soon as drill was over this season I would begin boot camp. And I did. I even enlisted some help and I'm pretty darn excited about it.

There is a trainer at the arena that we ride at. I finally got up the nerve to see if she could fit me in to her seemingly very hectic schedule. She found room for me and I had my first lesson in years last week. It was great! While I was a little disappointed that we ended up working on spinning and flying lead changes, I was still very pleased with the difference I could already see in Midori's responsiveness. I was amazed. It didn't seem like we had really done a whole lot, but I could definately feel progress was being made.

I feel like there are a lot of holes in our training, steps that we skipped, building blocks that we missed. I'm also aware that most of the "issues" we are having with progressing like I want to are just my lack of knowledge and experience. I've already gotten Midori further in her training then I thought I knew how to. I have to admit, I'm pretty darn proud of the little horse that I've made. Of course she's just a rock star in her own right, so I've had good help in the matter. But back to the holes....I wanted to kind of go back to the beginning and fill in those holes and gaps and work up from there, which is why I was disappointed that we ended up getting to work on flying lead changes on the first lesson. I did mention to the trainer that I'm doing the winter reining series, which starts in one month, so I'm sure she registered that and realized it's crunch time. Or maybe, and this is my reaching for the stars here, she just figured we are more ready for the big stuff then I feel like we are. I guess time will tell. Ultimately my goal is for my horse to be as close to a finished reiner as we can get with our limited resources, both financial and available local trainers (good trainers are hard to come by around here) and I'm just happy to have someone helping me learn how to reach that goal.

So for now I'm pleased with my new trainer. She is nice and seems to know what she's doing well enough. I'm happy to pick her brain for a while and it's way better then continuing to flail around on my own. I'm excited to see how we progress this winter! My next lesson is tomorrow and now that I've had over a week to digest the last one I've got all sorts of questions I want to ask and things I need to understand better. I'm excited. Progress is being made!

Sunday Stills Challenge - Rule of Thirds

Well, I hope I'm getting this right. I love the rule of thirds when taking pictures and thought I had about a million pictures that I could use for this challenge in my archives (I had a super busy week this week so I didn't have time to get any new pictures). Of course once I started looking thru my archives I realized that I really do still center most of my pictures. I was a little disappointed in myself. ;)

I did find a few that I think qualify.

I have always loved this picture. It is jrosey and my bff Sarah trail riding down by the river on a beautiful fall day.

This is another one of my faves of the boyfriend. He was taking a walk while they were dragging the arena at a cutting show.

And a snowy branch draping over our hitching post last winter. I think I was trying for the rule of thirds here, but it's kind of right in between being centered and thirds. The snow is mostly in the top third and the vertical post is mostly in the left third. Mostly. I suppose I could have cropped a bit, but I like it just the way it is.

And then we have the ominous cloud picture with the ground and trees in the bottom third. Or bottom quarter. Close enough.

To check out more Rule of Thirds pics go thru the comments here.